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Ask a Pipe Guy

This is a discussion on Ask a Pipe Guy within the The Pipe Hobby How-To Discussion Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; Also, smoke with light puffs when breaking in to keep the pipe cool. May not be a concern with liner....

  1. #91

    Full grown Puffer Fish SmokinJohnny's Avatar

    Also, smoke with light puffs when breaking in to keep the pipe cool. May not be a concern with liner.
    Give me tobacco or give me death

  2. #92

    pipe smokin' duck hunter Hendu3270's Avatar

    Thanks Johnny.

  3. #93

    The Quarter Life shortstory5's Avatar

    Is pipe smoke inhaled?
    My Blog?
    "We never rush the hands of time" - Arturo Fuente

  4. #94

    Full grown Puffer Fish SmokinJohnny's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by shortstory5 View Post
    Is pipe smoke inhaled?
    Only a few people inhale because the smoke is to strong.
    Give me tobacco or give me death

  5. #95

    pipe smokin' duck hunter Hendu3270's Avatar

    Well my first pipe experience went pretty good. It lasted for a little less than an hour and i had to re-light it 4 or 5 times. I'm assuming I'll get better at keeping it lit with more experience. One thing that I did not like was that it started "gurgling". I was very carefull not to put my tongue on the tip when puffing but I'm not sure if it was spit or moisture from the tabacco combined with the heat, but whatever it was at onee point it got on my tongue and holy cow that's some nasty stuff! I ended up taking the mouthpiece out several times and blowing the liquid out. Any ideas how to prevent this or advice to keeping it lit?

  6. #96

    Full grown Puffer Fish SmokinJohnny's Avatar

    When I started smoking, I found these tips in links posted on this forum and saved them in favorites. They were very helpful. Sounds like you were careful about saliva. Moistness of tobacco, the density of the pack, and how hot you're getting the pipe have a lot to do with a good bowl smoke. Also, the stem hole should enter the bowl hole at the very bottom. Otherwise it creates a condensate trap. Post if your pipe has this problem. There is a simple fix. Yea, pipe condensate is nasty stuff.

    Pipe Gurgle

    We've all heard it and we've all had it, but what is it and what can be done about it? Pipe gurgle is caused when moisture gathers in the bottom of our bowl and bubbles about when we draw on our pipe. The moisture comes from three sources. The first is from tobacco that has a moisture content that is too high. When the moisture content of tobacco is too high it converts to steam and then the steam converts to liquid which sits in the bottom of the bowl. We've written quite a few articles about achieving the correct moisture content - please follow the link above. The second cause is saliva that finds it's way down the stem from our mouths. This can be corrected by changing our smoking habits to includes things such as not talking with our pipes in our mouths and placing our tongues over the tips of our pipes when not drawing. The third cause is the change of airflow when smoke leave the bowl and enters the stem. If the airway in the shank is significantly larger than the airway in the stem any steam in the smoke will condense and form moisture which will gather in the bowl. This can be addressed by enlarging and funneling the stem airway. This is a simple but delicate process that might be better off left to a professional.

    The fixes for pipe gurgle other than those stated above - (proper moisture content, change of smoking habits and refining the airway) - are as follows:

    When the pipe begins to gurgle slowly blow into the stem. Do this until the gurgle is reduced. Doing so forces the moisture towards the burning embers which will help to evaporate it. Blow, blow, blow, draw - blow, blow, blow, draw. Simple but effective.

    You can also do the obvious, insert a pipe cleaner down the stem to absorb the moisture. Do not separate the stem to do this. Doing so might crack the tenon of a hot pipe. Start at the mouthpiece and work it further until it's in the bowl. This might not happen on the first time and might require a little twisting and fiddling at the transition from the tenon to the shank but in most pipes it will pass completely with little effort.
    Proper Moisture Content for Pipe Tobacco

    Pipe tobacco differs from other tobacco products when it comes to moisture content. For cigars, the perfect moisture content is approximately 70 - 73 RH (relative humidity) @ 72. This is generally too damp for pipe tobacco. While I'm on the subject let me address the matter of storing pipe tobacco in your cigar humidor. Simply put, it's a very bad idea. Besides the fact that a cigar humidor is too damp, pipe tobacco will impart a taste to the cigars they are stored with and vise versa. Also, if the pipe tobacco is placed against the humidor's cedar lining it will badly stain it. Pipe tobacco is best kept between 45 and 60 RH. I know this seems like a large range but it does cover the vast types of pipe tobacco. Different styles of pipe tobacco require different RH. Here is a rule of thumb to finding the right RH for each tobacco type you smoke.

    Tobacco that is too moist will be hard to light, burn wet (which will cause your pipe to gurgle), lack flavor and it will burn very hot due to the excess moisture being converted to steam.
    Tobacco that is too dry will burn fast, hot and have a straw-like quality to the taste.
    So here is the assignment: Experiment will each type of tobacco that you smoke. First, smoke it in the same condition as you bought it. (Don't assume that because the tobacco shipped with a certain moisture content that is the correct content.) Note how it smoked. Work your way down in dryness and continue to note how the tobacco smokes. Once you have determined the best moisture content for each of your tobaccos try to replicate the RH in your temporary and long term storage. If all this sounds like a lot of work, you're right, it is but you will be rewarded with a much better smoking experience. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules. What might be perfect for me might be too dry for you. Two last thoughts on the subject:

    Temperature effects RH. As temperature rising so does RH. As temperature lowers so does RH.
    Some manufacturers use things like propylene glycol (mostly found in aromatics but can be found elsewhere) and pectin to regulate RH and enhance shelf life. These tobaccos tend to be more difficult to control the RH. Personally, I try to avoid them anyway.
    A little repeat here.

    Keeping Your Pipe Lit.

    There are many tricks that can be using to keep your tobacco burning without constant re-lighting. This little trick will take a little time to master but once you do it will become second nature and part of your smoking habit. The concept behind this method is similar to a bellows. When you sense that your pipes is going out, simply blow into the stem very gently. After a few gentle breaths into the pipe you'll notice that your tobacco will begin to smolder and re-ignite. Now partially cover your bowl with your thumb and take a couple of deep puffs. Your tobacco should once again be fully lit. Ideally, you should practice this technique the whole time you are smoking your pipe and not wait until it is about to go out. Master this technique and you'll be able to smoke your pipe all the way to the bottom without ever having to re-light!
    How do I pack the pipe?

    This is a frequently asked question and is the most important aspect of pipe smoking. Regardless of the quality of the pipe or the tobacco, if the tobacco is not properly loaded into the pipe chamber, the result is a poor and frustrating smoke.

    First, you want to begin by getting a feel for your tobacco; whether it is moist or dry (moist tobacco has the tendency to compress on itself) and to eliminate any sticks or hard bits. These erratics only will interrupt the even burning process and require more relighting. Pinch off or drop a small amount of tobacco into the bottom of the bowl. Depending on the size or the bowl, you want to establish 3 to 4 layers of these pinches. You want the tobacco to be loose at the bottom and more firm at the top. You can get away with this firmness at the top because when you perform your first light, the tobacco will expand. Lightly tamp and relight. The draw should be smooth and free. If it is airy, you have packed the pipe too loosely which will result in frequent relights. The most common error is to pack the pipe too firmly and this always leads to frequent relights and moisture problems.

    If you think about this layering process, you can picture one layer burning into the next, slowly and evenly, aided by occasional tamping. One analogy we often use is building a fire in a fireplace. You start with kindling, newspaper, wood and matches. You would not dream of throwing it all in the hearth and expecting it to burn. You would constantly relight to no avail. But by carefully stacking the kindling with the newspaper underneath, you would achieve a fire that will burn up through the kindling to the wood placed on top. One source lights the other. You occasionally poke the fire in order to keep it going from one log to the next (tamping). Your end result is gray ash. The same gray ash you will have from a properly packed pipe. It is simply a combustion process.

    Hopefully you can transfer these procedures to the pipe using the methods we have outlined above. Practice! Practice! Practice! This is indeed the key to a good smoke.

    Good Luck!

    Give me tobacco or give me death

  7. #97

    pipe smokin' duck hunter Hendu3270's Avatar

    Thank you sir! This definitely gives me some things to work on

  8. #98

    pipe smokin' duck hunter Hendu3270's Avatar

    Oh, and I also feel my tabacco is waaaay to moist. It's almost sticky. Should it not be kept in the plastic bag that it came in or is that fine?

  9. #99

    pipe smokin' duck hunter Hendu3270's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokinJohnny View Post
    Moistness of tobacco, the density of the pack, and how hot you're getting the pipe have a lot to do with a good bowl smoke. Also, the stem hole should enter the bowl hole at the very bottom. Otherwise it creates a condensate trap. Post if your pipe has this problem. There is a simple fix.

    There were a few times that my pipe was pretty hot. Hot enough that I was forced to hold it by the stem and not the bowl. So I reckon that could be a source of moisture. Not sure if my bowl meets the "stem at the very bottom" criteria or not so I took a quick picture when I went home for lunch for you guys to see.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #100

    pipe smokin' duck hunter Hendu3270's Avatar

    You can see from the pic that it is in the bottom, (obviously) but doesn't come up from the center of the bottom.

  11. #101

    Full grown Puffer Fish SmokinJohnny's Avatar

    The way the stem hole enters the bowl looks right in the pic.

    A zip lock bag should be OK. Or you can get one of those zipper pouches.

    Hard to describe but pipe tobacco should feel sort of damp. Enough that a few flakes cling to your fingers you when squish it. To dry it out, you can fluff some up and lay it on a paper towel for 10 to 30 minutes depending on how moist it is. You don't want it too dry or it smokes fast, hot, and tastes crappy dry.

    If there's a tobacco shop near you, with jars of different tobaccos they weigh and bag on demand, you might want to try that too. It's usually good stuff and the right moisture level. They got all kinds of blends to try. Their "house blend" is usually aimed at beginning or casual smokers.

    If it's getting too hot, try slowing down on your puffing. Like 5 to 15 seconds between draws. Could be the density of the pack too. I like to draw when I'm compressing a load in the bowl so I don't pack too loose or tight. There should be some resistance but not so much it feels plugged.

    If you don't have a pipe nail, you should have one. The blunt end is for packing a lit bowl and the flat end for smoothing out the carbon cake or scraping of excess ash. I like the all purpose tool that clips to a key chain. They're like a couple bucks.
    Give me tobacco or give me death

  12. #102

    pipe smokin' duck hunter Hendu3270's Avatar

    Thanks Johnny

    I do have a tool. It has a tamp and a reamer on it.

  13. #103

    Full grown Puffer Fish SmokinJohnny's Avatar

    Welcome. If you like cigars, you might like a light burley blend. The tounge bite is cigarish. I crave it. Tastes vary. You might hate it too.
    Give me tobacco or give me death

  14. #104

    Newb bradleycheuk's Avatar


    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    I was an ex-cigarette smoker before I got into Cigars because I really enjoyed the finer tobacco. I guess you can say I dipped my toes in Cigars but I don't really enjoy it as much as I thought I did before because I find the taste too harsh and they're rather fragile to keep well. So I would really be interested in starting a pipe because first of all it looks very cool, I like having a solid object that I can reuse over and over again and I like the fact that I need to pack my own tobacco which makes it more personal. So I know I need to get a pipe but that's about all I know. I know there are many different pipe shapes and sizes so does it really matter or are they just for looks? What are some good mild tobacco that I can put into the pipe? How do I keep my pipe clean? How do I light a pipe?

    Thank you very much for posting this thread I really appreciate this.


  15. #105

    Full grown Puffer Fish SmokinJohnny's Avatar


    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Probably the cheapest and easiest way to try pipe smoking is with a corn cob pipe, a pouch of Captain Black, and some pipe cleaners. All can be had for less than ten bucks. If you decide you like pipe smoking after three or four bowls, you can move up in quality and take it from there. Or if Captain Black tastes like crap, you might try a different blend.

    A cheap pipe is a good idea because lighting it right and smoking it right is a learned thing. You don't want to overheat and scorch a good pipe. If you're a cigar and cig smoker, often times the toughest thing to get used to with pipe smoking is not puffing too hard. You want to puff just enough to keep the bowl lit so the tobacco flavors are at their best and you don't overheat the bowl. Or worse, damage the bowl on an expensive pipe. It's sort of a rythm thing. It's better to constantly re-light than to overheat.

    A good first pipe is probably one with a straight stem. This is because the mouth sometimes tends to water and with a straight stem, the saliva isn't likely to drain into the bowl like it can with a half bent. Mild aromatics are a good choice for first time pipe smoking. Because tastes vary so much, a sampling of 4 or 5 different blends is a good idea.

    This is a good site for first time pipe smoking.

    Choosing Pipe Tobacco - The Key to Smoking Pipes | NotSoBoringLife.com
    Give me tobacco or give me death

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